Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Review: Sailing With Impunity by Mary E. Trimble

Mary Trimble and Impunity
                Sailing With Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific
                                                            Mary E. Trimble

    Impunity: freedom from punishment, harm or loss. Impunity was the serendipitous name for the vessel that in 1989 carried Mary and Bruce Trimble, now of Camano Island, on their 13,000 mile voyage through the South Seas and back to Seattle.  While reading Sailing With Impunity, the story of that adventure, I felt like I was on the boat with the Trimbles, living something far beyond any previous experience. Though it was certainly not free from punishment—seasickness, storms at sea, a terrifying time when Bruce was knocked overboard, a cyclone in Samoa—the Impunity’s journey also brought tranquility and ideal sailing conditions as well as happy occasions of exploring the South Sea islands and making new friends.

    Meticulous planning went into the execution of the Trimbles’ voyage. We learn the work involved in gathering and storing supplies and extra parts for the boat. Mary shares practical solutions to adaptations one must make to daily routines, such as bathing or washing clothes in salt water, or cooking nutritious meals on a plunging boat while strapped into the galley and holding on with one hand. Even eating those meals could be challenging. The author tells how they’d load up their plates and hang on to them for dear life. They couldn’t put them down or they’d slide away. In bad weather, salt spray was constant. They had to hunch over their plates to protect their food from the water.

    We become privy to the details of shipboard emergencies, celestial navigation, even the tricks of sailing safely through the barrier reefs surrounding some of the islands.

    Whether you’re an experienced sailor or an armchair adventurer, Sailing With Impunity has plenty to engage your attention. If you’re not a sailor, you may want to start at the back of the book and  skim the very helpful glossary. You’ll want to return to it often. While you’re there, read the epilogue, which traces Mary’s career as an author. Then begin the journey. You’ll be glad you sailed along.

Sailing with Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific
ISBN 978-0692417782

Sailing with Impunity may be purchased through your favorite bookstore, or for paperback or Kindle e-book format, through
contact Mary at:


  1. That looks like a wonderful book - for those who sail and those of us who wish we did.

  2. Thanks for your comment, JoAnn. Reading Mary's book was as close as I'll ever get to such an experience, but now I know what it was like!

  3. Thank you, Joan, for this lovely review. I especially like the detail you express in the specifics of the book. I'm so glad you enjoyed the memoir of our journey.


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